Thursday, May 23, 2013

Help Me Make a Sick Child Smile Again!

One of the perks of having been on a Reality Show is that I get the opportunity to help support different charities through fundraisers where they invite former contestants to help out.
Please GIVE NOW by clicking HERE!
I wish I could support all of these incredible charities but my busy schedule prevents me from attending all of them. I do like to take the time each year to support Give Kids the World in Orlando, FL, though. This incredible organization blessed my heart when I attended this fundraiser for the first time and has continued to touch my heart for the past four years of my involvement with them.

GKTW helps children with life-threatening illnesses and their entire families smile and forget that there is a devastating illness hovering over them. For an entire week, they are treated to a Disney vacation and all sorts of other incredible opportunities to be "normal". I cannot imagine how hard their lives must be - as their new normal is hospital visits, tiring treatments and medications and the constant wonder of what the next day might bring. How heartbreaking!

What I also really liked is that they pay special attention, not only to the sick child, but also to the siblings of the sick child, who so often get overlooked with all of the dire needs of their brother or sister who is suffering.

In this summer event, many previous reality contestants come together, dress up like princesses and pirates and get to spend an evening with the children who are there. The following day, we spend the
day autographing and raising money to support them. All money that is made is sent directly to the charity to support it so more and more families can be treated to this incredible opportunity!

We also get the chance to raise money prior to the event through friends and family, like YOU!  If you would like to help me out and send some precious, terminally ill children to Disney World with me, please support me by clicking here!  It doesn't have to be much - if everyone reading this would donate at least $5-$10, we could really make a difference together. Of course, if you want to give more, I would appreciate that, too!!

Thank you and God bless you for helping out the children and their families!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Peace and Grace in Suffering

Very few moments in time leave me completely speechless.

Monday was one of those days for me.  I watched in horror as the now F-5 tornado barreled through neighborhoods, hospital and even schools.  The feeling of helplessness just swept over me and I was nauseous.  I still have that same nauseous feeling when I see the photos and updates

I would never presume to know God's intent for allowing such a horrifying event to happen.  Only
Neighbors recognized each other and embraced at Briarwood Elementary School
God knows why this has happened, and I trust Him.  I know that it could never happen unless He allowed it, though, because God's Word tells me He is sovereign and in complete control of the earth.  I do believe with all of my heart that if there is any chance that any of these precious people would seek after Him and begin to trust in  Him through this disaster, He will be waiting with open arms.  I also know that those who already trust in Him will be given incredible and unimaginable peace and grace through their pain.

Suffering can usher us into God's arms, because in the midst of it we are reminded most that we are human, we are powerless and we don't have all the answers.  After all, Jesus suffered tremendously here on earth - but because of that suffering, we are now able to be restored to God through Him when we put our faith and trust in Him and what He did for us. His death seemed like the end of the promise, but His resurrection brought hope for all mankind! Brokenness always precedes usefulness with God. As a parent, I cannot imagine the grief God must feel when He sees us suffering. I hate seeing my children hurting. I know His heart is breaking and that He is full of compassion for those in Oklahoma right now.  Psalm 116:15 says, "The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die."

I know from my own personal experience that God's mercy in the midst of suffering is what opened my eyes to His Truth in my life.  I don't think I would have paid attention if He had not allowed suffering in the boundaries of my life and honestly, I'm thankful for that.  No matter what the suffering here on earth, it doesn't even come close to comparing to the suffering of an eternity separated from Him!

The truest disaster of all is someone dying and facing an eternity separated from our merciful and compassionate God.  And He knows this, so He allows things in our life to get our attention while we are still able to call out to Him. Only a loving parent would allow such a thing.

So I am praying those who do not know Him will seek Him and allow Him to comfort them today, not only in Oklahoma, but everywhere in the world, as we all watch and pray for those who are waking up each day now to their new reality. Our suffering does not have to be in vain.

Psalm 103:19 "The Lord has made the heavens His throne; from there He rules over everything." 

If you would like to help out the victims of this devastating tornado, please visit His Radio's Website where we have links to ministries that are already on the ground, helping and bringing Hope to those in need.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Drastic Decisions

You cannot escape the news about Angelina Jolie's recent decision to have a double mastectomy because of test results that showed she has the same gene her mother had that gives her an 85% higher risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. There are a ton of responses all over the internet - both supporting of her and some, well, not-so-much. Everyone seems to have an opinion!

Personally, it just got me thinking. A few years ago, I had the same test done after learning my mother had ovarian cancer in her 30's. My mother's cancer was caught early - she was having a hysterectomy for something else when they removed the ovary and found it was in the beginning phases of cancer. I'm thankful they caught it early - this disease can be vicious. And it can be inherited, too. That's why I had the test done.

My results were negative for the gene, but if they had been positive, what would I have done? I honestly don't know. It's so hard to know what one would do in a situation unless they are actually in the middle of it. I remember saying to my friend, who had cancer, that I didn't know how she was able to stay so strong. She simply said, "I have no choice." It made me realize that when the Bible tell us that God gives us grace to go through what we must go through, He means it.  And it also made me realize that He doesn't give us grace when we just imagine going through it.

I'm not going to judge Angelina because I've never walked in her shoes. I didn't witness my mother slowly pass away from ovarian cancer like she did.  I have not been through the things she has been through, so how could I know if what she did was over-kill or necessary?  I just know that my heart breaks as I realized that in order to avoid the possibility of a drastic diagnosis, she had to take drastic measures. And she did it for her family.

I'm not sure what decision you are faced with today, but I know you probably have at least one big decision to make and it could be a decision that will forever change your life. And I know that God's grace will be sufficient to get you through it. He will give you wisdom to know what is best for you. He will give you discernment to know which way to go.  You just have to ask.

So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. -Ephesians 1:6

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pinterest FAIL


pinterest-fail-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-pancakesI can’t seem to get into Pinterest. I’ve tried, I really have. But honestly, everything I’ve tried on Pinterest has been a complete failure so being on the website is a tad depressing for me. I’m not crafty. My idea of crafts is a crayon and coloring books.  I don’t cook fancy meals. My idea of cooking a fancy meal is making a casserole. I’m definitely not a fashionista. My idea of dressing up is wearing jeans instead of sweatpants. You get the picture.

So, you can imagine how incredibly giddy I felt when I came across the website www.pinterestfail.com!  Oh my goodness.  This is me, in a website form!  I realized quickly I’m not alone. Others mess up too – and they have a sense of humor about it instead of allowing it to sink them into the depths of comparison despair.

If Pinterest Envy has you feeling down in the dumps, take a trip to the alternative website that will embrace all of your imperfectness. I’ll see you on www.pinterestfail.com! (smile)

-Leslie

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